Run somebody down

Hello! In my last post I looked at the phrase feel run-down (be in a poor physical condition, weak or exhausted, like during a cold or some other illness or from too much work). Run-down is an adjective obtained by conversion from the verb run down. Like many other phrasal verbs, this one has more than one meaning. Today I’ll be looking at one of them.

When you run somebody down you disparage them, you criticise them (often in an unfair way), you speak slightlingly of someone, you belittle them. Here are two examples: Don’t run her down! She’s very talented. | Please, stop running me down all the time!

Do any people you know sometimes run you down? Do you do it to others yourself? We usually run people down to make ourselves feel better. It doesn’t really work, of course. We don’t get well by doing that. As St. Ambrose of Milan used to say: No one heals himself by wounding another.

Caught a cold

Hello. A good friend of mine told me that a week ago he had a viral infection (or so it seems) and he thought he’d caught a cold (it would have been the first this autumn). He had a headache, back and limb pain (his arms and legs hurt), chills and he was feeling run-down. This means he was in poor physical condition, weak and exhausted. Most people feel like that in the first two days of a cold or flu. Well, this time the disturbing symptoms were digestive not respiratory (no blocked or runny nose, no cough, no sore throat) but it was all very unpleasant – he said we’d have to take his word for that 🙂

Anyway, things were looking up on the third day and he recovered quickly. Still, with the cold season coming on, viruses will spread and many of us have already had some contact with them, even if in a mild form. So, how does your body react when you catch a cold or come down with the flu? Do you feel run-down? While an uneventful winter (from a medical point of view of course) is very unlikely for most of us, I wish you one with fewer medical problems.

Take care